Sarah Jessica Parker Once Tried to Back out of ‘Sex and the City’ Contract After Regretting Her Role

For Sarah Jessica Paker, Sex and the City is something of a phenomenon. The series ran for six successful seasons on HBO, enjoying nice ratings and high critical acclaim. It even spawned a couple of movies that continued its legacy by doing well at the box office.

However, the series’ future was unclear in the beginning. And before the show took off, Parker was actively searching for ways to leave the series. Even if that meant working for free.

Matthew Broderick had to convince Sarah Jessica Parker to do ‘Sex and the City’

Sarah Jessica Parker smiling while wearing a black dress.
Sarah Jessica Parker | Charles Sykes/ Getty Images

Although starring in Sex and the City might have been good for Parker’s career, she considered turning down the opportunity. Parker didn’t want to forsake a possible film career to do television. She thought doing TV might come with a less flexible, more strict lifestyle.

“I was terrified of it, and not in a good way, not in the same way I’m terrified of working in the theater. I was very nervous about doing a television series. It sounded depressing to me,” she once said in Interview magazine. “[With TV, I thought] you’d just never get better, you’d just get comfortable, and that’s it. You can’t quit. You can’t work in the theater. Can’t do a movie when you like. You can’t just be with your friends and go to dinner. And then you’re in people’s homes and your life changes—you can’t go to the market by yourself and pick your own tomatoes.”

Eventually, however, her husband and fellow actor Matthew Broderick convinced her to give the role a chance.

“But Matthew said, ‘I think you should do this, because it’s a really good part, and you’ve never played one like it. The worst-case scenario is it’ll be successful. Maybe it’ll be really collaborative, and you’ll learn something.’ And in fact he was right,” she added.

Sarah Jessica Parker tried getting out of ‘Sex and the City’ contract

After shooting the pilot, Parker began to second-guess her decision a second time. So much so there was a point where she tried to negotiate her way out of her contract. Broadway actor and one of Parker’s friends in Seth Rudetsky recalled the situation in a Playbill column. In it, he echoed Parker’s sentiments about not really wanting to do a TV series.

“However, she loved the script so she filmed it and then forgot about it. Months later she found out the show was picked up and she completely wanted to get out of it. I mean, completely. She really didn’t want to be tied down to one job because she loved going from gig to gig and being, what she called, a ‘journeyman,’” Rudetsky wrote.

Parker was eventually convinced to stay on board, but not after offering free work to be let go of her contract.

“She tried various ways to get out of it including telling HBO that she would film three projects for free if they’d release her from her contract! Basically, they convinced her to honor her deal, and she now has no regrets,” he explained.

Kristin Davis didn’t want to audition for Carrie Bradshaw

With Parker still being an uncertainty at the time, Davis was entertained as a possible replacement. Author Jennifer Armstrong revealed that despite her already being cast as Charlotte, Davis was given the opportunity to audition for the lead.

“Davis shut down when she read Star’s description of Carrie as having ‘the body of Heather Locklear and the mind of Dorothy Parker,’” Armstrong wrote in her book Sex and the City and Us (via stylist).

But the physical description of Carrie further discouraged Davis from taking the part.

“All Davis could think was, ‘I am never in a hundred million years going to have the body of Heather Locklear’,” Armstrong continued. “The character also smoked and swore a fair amount – before Parker shifted the character a bit – which felt outside Davis’ boundaries.”

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